I completely forgot to mark the 200th and 300th posts, but I just finished post #330, so let’s celebrate!
This is an Open Thread, so please say hello. Feel free to chat, ask questions, or let me know any topics you’d be interested in for future posts.
Alternatively, tell us your favorite book(s).
I don’t normally do links lists, but since this is a special occasion, I’m going to recommend some articles:
The Extinction of the Australian Pygmies, by Keith Windschuttle and Tim Gillin. Fascinating.
On a probably not-related but convergently-evolved note, we have Whole-genome sequence analyses of Western Central African Pygmy hunter-gatherers reveal a complex demographic history and identify candidate genes under positive natural selection, or you can read the always interesting commentary by West Hunter. And if that’s not enough Pygmies for you, there’s always Model-based analyses of whole-genome data reveal a complex evolutionary history involving archaic introgression in Central African Pygmies.
In the beautiful things file, we have A New Thermodynamics Theory of the Origin of Life. If you read the comments, you’ll see that it’s not really “new” and that other people have been working on it for a while, but the article is still a nice explanation of the concept.
Some interesting food for thought from Dienekes: Are living Africans nested within Eurasian genetic variation (?) and a response by Razib Khan, Why I still Lean Toward a Sub-Saharan Origin for Modern Humanity.
ETA: And finally, I just discovered Still a Pygmy, by Isaac Bacirongo and Michael Nest. From the blurb:
How did a Pygmy from Congo end up living in Sydney, Australia? Growing up as a hunter-gatherer in the forests of Congo, where Pygmies were considered inferior to all other Africans and fit only for slave labor and witchcraft rituals*, Isaac Bacirongo never dreamed he would end up living in Australia. He also never imagined that he would get a high school education, fall in love with a “town girl,” start a prosperous business, and even own his own car—unheard of for a Pygmy. … When the tensions of Rwanda’s civil war spilled over into Congo, Isaac’s family fled the invading army, but a brutal occupation force eventually took control of the east and threw Isaac into prison for his human rights activism. After bribing his way out of jail, Isaac escaped Congo to reunite with his wife and 10 children in Kenya. He got work as an interpreter on an investigation into corruption in the UN, only to be threatened again by his involvement in the case and by spies working for Congolese rebel forces. With no future in Kenya and unable to return home, Isaac applied for and eventually received a humanitarian visa to Australia. … This is the inspiring and true story of one man’s transformation from hunter-gatherer to prosperous businessman to Australian resident, and advocate for the rights of his people’s identity. It is the first memoir by a Pygmy author ever published.
*Note: “witchcraft rituals” means “human sacrifice.” Also, cannibalism.
Anyone read it? I’m going to see if the library has it.
Anyway, thanks for reading, everyone. Here’s to the next 330 posts!